Genetic Testing
for Veterans

Using Genetics to Guide Medication

Sanford Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are teaming up to serve those who have served. We’re offering genetic testing to current and past U.S. military service members who are current VA health care system patients at no cost to the patient.

We want you to have access to appropriate medicines for a number of common health care concerns, including pain, depression, anxiety, and blood clotting.

Why genetic testing?

Everyone responds to medications differently. Sometimes these differences are due to genetics.

The type of genetic testing we’re offering is called pharmacogenetics, or PGx. This uses your DNA, or genetic information, to help your doctor determine prescription drugs that may work better for you.

Who can get tested?

The genetic testing program launched this year at a pilot site in Durham, North Carolina. While cancer survivors are of specific interest, a diagnosis of cancer is not required to participate in the program. We intend to expand to 250,000 U.S. veterans at 125 sites by 2022.

What will this cost?

This program comes at no cost for veterans or taxpayers due to a $25 million gift from philanthropist Denny Sanford and a matching fundraising effort from Sanford Health. Although the cost of pharmacogenetic testing is covered by this program, expenses related to a new prescription, travel, or doctor appointments will still be the responsibility of the patient.

What is the PHASeR program?

Pharmacogenomics Action for Cancer Survivorship (PHASeR) is a pharmacogenetics testing program for VA patients.

Why would cancer survivors find this genetic test especially valuable?

As more and more veterans survive cancer, their medication needs go beyond their cancer treatment.  VA physicians hope to bring even more personalization to cancer survivorship plans for patients with pharmacogenetic testing.

Veterans, you’ve looked out for us. Let us look out for you and your health.

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Veteran Stories

Veteran Cancer Survivor Pursues Genetic Testing

Hear a veteran and cancer survivor talk about his health journey and decision to pursue genetic testing at a VA health care facility in Durham, NC to better understand how his body reacts to certain medications.

Why Get Tested & What It’s Like

Hear from a veteran about his decision to get pharmacogenetic testing at Sanford Health and an internal medicine provider about why she recommends testing for her patients.

Learn More

What is Pharmacogenetics?

Do you know what medications are most effective for your body based on your genetic makeup? Pharmacogenetics may help. Watch and learn the basics of this part of genetic medicine.

Drug/Gene Pairs

What to Expect When You Get Tested

To get tested:

  1. Ask your VA doctor to order your pharmacogenetic test. Initially, this program is only offered in Durham, NC though we plan to expand to 40 centers by the end of 2020 and up to 100 centers by the end of 2022.  Please return to this site to learn about new participating centers.
  2. Complete a simple blood draw at a VA facility laboratory.
  3. The VA lab sends the blood sample to a lab at Sanford Health’s Imagenetics facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to be processed.

Once your doctor gets the results, we securely discard your sample.

How to Use Your Results

When we get your results, we will return them to your VA doctor. The results will become part of your electronic medical record for future reference. Your doctor will use the results to guide treatment decisions that may work for you.

View a Sample Report

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